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Free School Meals

Free School Meal – Update 21/04/2020

Last week the Government advised schools that we would be able to issue an Ecode to cover a longer period of time. Ibstock Community College has therefore decided to order an Ecode to cover the next four week period, 20/04/2020 to 17/05/2020. This will be for £60.00 per child. If you have more than one child you will receive one Ecode which will cover all your children.

Please be aware that when you redeem your Ecode you do need to redeem the full value at this point. However once you have a voucher / EGift card it does not need to be used in one transaction and you can leave a balance on this to use at another time should you wish to. Ecodes are only valid for one month from the date of issue and so needs to be redeemed within this period. The Voucher / EGift card will have a minimum of 12 months before it expires. Different supermarkets have different expiry dates so please check this on your voucher.

In dealing with issues that arose last week we can give the following advice:

  • Ecode not received – Please give this time to come through. Due to the volume of schools using the system these have been taking up to 24 hours to be delivered to your email. Please also check your Junk as some have gone through to this. If you have not received your Ecode by Thursday please email me and I will try and resend the Ecode.
  • Voucher / EGift card not received following redemption of ECode – Last week some of the vouchers were taking 24 hours to come through from the supermarket. Morrisons did initially have problems with what they were sending out but they do now appear to have solved the issue and resent out valid vouchers. Edenred are advising that if you have not received your voucher from your chosen supermarket within 24 hours then please email them at freeschoolmealsparentscarers@edenred.com I would suggest you quote Ibstock Community College, your child’s name, the supermarket selected and your Ecode. I am unable to email on your behalf but if you want further advice on this please contact me.
  • The system kept crashing – This appeared to be a common issue last week and Edenred have sent through an apology. The volume of people trying to access at once overwhelmed the system. I would suggest if you are able to try and use the system early in the morning or later in the evening this seemed to be a bit quicker and with less issues.

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During the period of school closures the Department of Education have developed a national scheme to provide supermarket vouchers for students who would recieve free school meals (FSM) in school. These will be provided via an online portal called Edenred.

We will be using this scheme from Monday 20 April 2020.

 

Parent or carers of the student(s) eligible for free school meals will receive an email containing a redemption eCode from the Edenred system directly. You will receive instructions on how to use this eCode to create an eGift card.

Through Edenred, you can choose an eGift card for the following supermarkets:

  • Morrisons
  • Tesco
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Asda
  • Aldi
  • Waitrose
  • M&S food

We recognise that it may not be convenient or possible for some families to visit one of these supermarkets, the Department of Education are working to see if additional supermarkets can be added to this list.

How do I use my eCode to select a supermarket eGift card?

We recommend ordering your supermarket eGift at home before going to the store. 

1. In the email click on 'Redeem your eCode'

2. If the link does not work go to www.freeschoolmeals.co.uk

3. Enter the 16 digit eCode (you can enter more than one eCode if you have more than one to redeem)

4. Select a supermarket

5. Enter the amount and add to basket

6. Checkout and enter the email address you would like the eGift card sent to

7. Your eGift card will be processed and sent (please allow up to 3 hours for it to be delivered to your inbox).

Below is an example of the email you will receive:

 

Once families have received their voucher, they will be able to redeem them in-store at the selected retailer by either:

  • presenting the voucher on a smartphone or tablet
  • presenting a paper copy of the voucher

Families are free to select the most appropriate food and drink for their child. When selecting products, we encourage families to consider health and nutrition. The School Food Standards may act as a useful guide for families.

The vouchers should not be redeemed for any age-restricted items, such as alcohol, cigarettes or lottery tickets.

There are a number of online resources available to support families in preparing healthy and nutritious food, including on the NHS Eat Well website.

The BiteBack website contains ideas on 'Making Your £15 Free School Meal Voucher Go Further at Home.'

If you have any questions regarding this scheme please email icc.admin@ibstockcollege.co.uk

Q&A


Will every child at home due to school closures receive support?

This support focuses on those eligible for benefits-related free school meals.

Will pupils who become newly eligible for free school meals be supported?

Yes. Schools and local authorities should continue to accept free school meal applications. Parents should make contact with the school or local authority, who will verify eligibility and award free school meals.

What is the eligibility criteria for free school meals?

The eligibility criteria for free school meals can be found on apply for free school meals.

What about infants that receive a free meal under universal infant free school meals?

It is right that schools concentrate their effort and resources on those who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals at this time. There is no requirement to continue to provide universal infant free school meals to pupils in reception, year 1, or year 2 who are unable to attend school. Children in those year groups who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals will be supported.

What about children who are attending school?

In the maintaining educational provision guidance, we ask schools to continue to provide care for a limited number of children, including those who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Where schools are open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, schools should continue to provide meals for pupils in attendance. Meals should be free of charge for pupils who would normally receive free school meals, and schools have discretion as to whether they charge other pupils.

Our school is open over the Easter holidays and our food supplier is able to continue to provide meals for children eligible for free school meals who are not in school. Is that allowed?

Yes. It is for schools to decide locally how their arrangements for free school meals will operate.

Whilst the vouchers are for term time only, if there is a local arrangement to supply food that the school and the supplier intend to continue over this period then that can be agreed and managed locally. This would need to be manageable within schools’ existing resources, as there will not be additional funding available for this purpose.

How will children who usually attend a breakfast club be supported?

We are working to consider options to support children who currently receive a free breakfast through DfE’s contract with Family Action and Magic Breakfast. Family Action with Magic Breakfast will liaise directly with the schools involved in the programme.

What’s the difference between an eCode and an eGift card?

eCode – this is the 16 digit code which will be sent to you if you receive an email from your school. You’ll need this code to access www.freeschoolmeals.co.uk and choose your supermarket eGift card. You cannot use the eCode directly with the retailer, it must be exchanged for an eGift card.

eGift card – each supermarket has their own eGift card. To order your eGift, redeem your eCode at www.freeschoolmeals.co.uk. The eGift card will be sent to the email address entered during check-out and can be spent instore at the chosen supermarket. 

How do I use my eCode to select a supermarket eGift card?

We recommend ordering your supermarket eGift at home before going to the store. To select your supermarket eGift card, follow the steps below:

1. Copy eCode from your email

2. Go to www.freeschoolmeals.co.uk

3. Enter the 16 digit eCode (you can enter more than one eCode if you have more than one to redeem)

4. Select a supermarket

5. Enter the amount and add to basket

6. Checkout and enter the email address you would like the eGift card sent to

7. Your eGift card will be processed and sent (please allow up to 3 hours for it to be delivered to your inbox).

What supermarkets can I pick from?

The below supermarkets are available:

• Morrisons

• Tesco

• Sainsbury’s

• Asda

• Aldi

• Waitrose (John Lewis)

• M&S food

How do I know what the value of the eCode is?

This is stated in the email sent to you by the school.

Do I have to use the full value of the eCode when choosing my eGift card(s)?

Yes – your balance will be visible on the webpage.

Can I choose to redeem my eCode at more than one supermarket?

You can mix and match different supermarket retailers within the same order, provided the total value you’ve chosen for each is equal to total value of the eCode you’ve entered. For example, with a £10 eCode, you could choose £5 for Tesco and £5 for Sainsbury’s. Simply enter the value you would like to order on each supermarket eGift card and your balance will update so you know how much you have left.

Please note that the full value of the eCode needs to be redeemed in one transaction, you cannot redeem a partial value of the code and save the rest for later. Most supermarkets accept multiples of £1 or 1p per eGift card, however some other supermarkets have larger fixed amounts that can be ordered, e.g £10.

How long do I have to redeem the eCode?

Your eCode will expire after 1 month.

What happens if my eCode has expired?

The eCode is cancelled and the money associated is then returned to the Department for Education.

What can I purchase in-store with the eGift card?

The eGift card is issued to you in respect of the free school meal benefit and will only be accepted in store for the purchase of food and groceries.

How do I know what the value of the eGift card is?

The value will be present on the eGift card itself.

How do I use a supermarket eGift card?

A supermarket eGift card is a digital voucher. The eGift card email contains a link to a barcode which can be presented at the till in-store either on a smartphone screen or printed on a piece of paper, just like a gift card. Some eGift cards can be used to purchase online.

How long does the supermarket eGift card last for?

Please see the expiry details below:

Sainsbury’s 24 months from last transaction

Tesco 5 years from last transaction

Asda 24 months from last transaction

Morrisons 12 months expiry

Waitrose 24 months from last transaction

M&S food 24 months from last transaction For more T&Cs, please refer to the supermarket’s website.

Can the vouchers be used in-store and online?

Please see the details below:

Supermarket       In-store      Online

Sainsbury’s         Yes             No

Tesco                  Yes             No

Asda                   Yes             Yes

Morrisons            Yes            No

Waitrose              Yes           Yes

M&S food            Yes            No

For more T&C’s, please refer to the supermarket’s website.

My school has ordered an eCode for me, but it hasn’t come through to my email?

Firstly, check your junk mail. If it still hasn’t arrived within 3 hours, please contact your school to ensure that they have your correct email address. If necessary, the school administrator can cancel the previously sent eCode and resend to your correct email address. If this still doesn’t work, your school can contact Edenred.

I have ordered an eGift card, but it hasn’t come through to my email?

Firstly, check your junk mail folder and trash. You will receive two emails - one will be a confirmation or your order and the other will be the eGift card itself. If your order confirmation email has arrived, then your eGift card is in a queue and is on its way. If you've received neither emails, it is possible that you have entered your email address incorrectly at checkout. If you think this may be the case, please contact freeschoolmealsparentscarers@edenred.com.

What happens if I have a smartphone but no data when I’m at the supermarket?

We suggest ordering your eGift card at home when connected to WIFI before you go to the supermarket. Take a screenshot of the eGift card barcode before going to the supermarket as this should still scan ok in-store.

I’m not able to get to the supermarket.

You can forward the supermarket eGift card to someone else to purchase goods on your behalf if you’re not able to get to the supermarket. The eGift card email contains a link to a barcode which can be presented at the till in-store, just like a gift card.

How often will I receive the supermarket voucher?

The school will have flexibility in how often they send you an eCode or an eGift card. The eCode can be redeemed for a supermarket eGift card within 1 month. The eGift cards have different expiry dates.

I have more than one child, will I receive multiple eCodes?

This will be at the discretion of your school who may issue an eCode for each of your children or, alternatively, may send one eCode to you, for the total value of your children’s free school meal entitlement

To read the full guidance from the Department of Education please click on the link below;

Coronavirus (COVID-19): free school meals guidance for schools